A study about "Babylon"

Posted Feb 10, 2012 by Adrian Zaranski in Adventist Issues Hits: 3,686

I don't know, if this is a good time to write on this topic, but I'm willing to take a risk. Initially I wanted to post this on forum, but because the discussion between Brothers Brendan and David is still in action, I was afraid, that this study will not gain to much attention. So I'm posting a blog entry.

I would like to share with you my own study about what is Babylon, and can the Seventh-day Adventist Church – or as some like to call, the "General Conference", when referring to a denomination of 16 million members, instead of a 400-member governing body – become Babylon. Even, did it became Babylon now. Sorry, if this study will seem a little chaotic – my thoughts on this are progressing, as I'm writing this.

Now to the study:

The word "Babylon" itself isn't found to often in the New Testament. 4 times in Matthew, 1 time in Acts, 1 time in 1 Peter, and 6 times in Revelation. And this word is referring to the end times only in the Revelation. These are the references: 14:8, 16:19, 17:5, 18:2, 18:10 and 18:21. Two of them (14:8 and 18:2) are present in the Angel's Messages, two other (18:10 and 18:21) in the context of its judgment, next one (16:19) in the context of the last plague, and the other one (17:5) when describing Babylon itself. Three of them, 16:19, 18:10 and 18:21 are of no interest to us in this study, so we need to focus on the other three: 14:8, 17:5 and 18:2. These are:

And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. (Rev. 14:8)

And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. (Rev. 17:5)

And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. (Rev. 18:2)

The first reference is the Second Angel's Message, it's a single verse. The two last references are places in a wider context of describing Babylon itself: the second is placed, when describing the "great whore", while the third is placed in the Fourth Angel's Message. It's obvious, that the Second and Fourth Angel's Messages are corresponding to each other, so let's study them together.

So let's repeat those messages and let's put them in a little wider context:

And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. (Rev. 14:8)

And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. (Rev. 18:2-3)

Please note those bolded and underlined verses. In the Message of Second Angel, the statements about the kings and merchants of the earth are missing, there are only nations present. We know, that the Babylon was formed in about 1844, as a consequence of disregarding the Advent message, that is, the First Angel's Message (about the Judgment to come). So it seems, that the then Babylon did not yet "commit fornication" with "the kings of the earth" (the merchant part I will not touch in this study). And that is indeed true, because the Protestant Churches did not go to the US government to impose their faith on others in order to stop the Advent Awakening. Only the nations (the laity) were drunk of the wine of Babylon. I think we can safely say, that the yet situation did not change. The "kings of the earth" are still not drunk with the wine of Babylon.

So from this picture we can see, that Babylon itself is not about "committing fornication" with "the kings of the earth", that is, in uniting with the State. The Babylon will eventually become united with the State, but initially this is not, what Babylon is about.

Let's move on to the second Babylon reference, Rev. 17:5, and let's also show the bigger picture:

And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. (Rev. 17:1-6)

I wrote earlier, that Babylon was formed around 1844 - the quote above may indicate, that the Babylon was even before. But I think there is a progression here in this quote. First of all, the "great whore" is referring to the Church of Rome alone. We know it did "commit fornication with the kings of the earth" before 1844, even before 1798. But the angel wanted to show to John the judgment upon this woman. Judgment (starting in 1844) means, that the situation is changing a little. In the light of the Second Angel's Message, to the "great whore" was given the name: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I believe, that before 1844 the woman could not be named the Mother of Harlots, because the Protestant Churches were still part of God's people (although not God's own established Church).

The point I want to make here is, that this Babylon, when formed around 1844, did not yet itself "commit fornication with the king of the earth". This is still a future issue. Thus, the unification of Babylon-Church and State is not a thing, which constitutes Babylon per se.

So what is Babylon about?

Babylon was formed around 1844, when the Protestant Churches rejected the First Angel's Message (and eventually rejected also the Second and the Third). So the Babylon is a structure (can't find a better word) consisting of Churches, which rejected the Pre-advent Judgment teachings and rejected the Sabbath in favor of Sunday worship. Please note, that these are the teaching, which have a great impact on people in these specific times before the Second Coming of Jesus. I believe, this is what Babylon is about. On the other hand, the Remnant is teaching the Pre-advent Judgment and the Sabbath.

In the light given above, can the Seventh-day Adventist Church (or its General Conference) be Babylon, if it still retains the teachings of the Three Angels? Even if it adopted the Trinitarian MYSTERY of Babylon?

It gets even tougher, when we realize, how was our remnant Church built after 1844. As Brother Adrian Ebens told in one of the presentations, God establishes for Himself a Church only, when a prophet is engaged. And the prophets, or messengers, are present at least, when there are very important events happening. And so, God has established:

– the Israel Church, through Moses and others – when He established the earthly Sanctuary, made as an image of Heavenly things,

– the Apostolic Christian Church, through His Son and the Apostles, most notably Paul – when He established the mediatory ministry of Christ,

– the Seventh-day Adventist Church, through Adventist Pioneers, most notably Ellen White – when He established the judicial ministry of Christ.

Therefore, when a Church organized by God Himself have been forsaken by Him, it was always through His new messengers or prophets. A prophet did not even had to have visions, as long as there were time prophecies involved (as was with William Miller).

Hence, if there will be a need to depart from the now God's own established Church, that is the Seventh-day Adventist Church (remember, that its General Conference was also established by God Himself), there will have to be a new prophet involved. Only God has the authority to forsake the community, which was raised by Him personally.

So, in summary:

1. Babylon is not itself about unification of Church and State, but it’s about teaching errors, which are connected to the end times, and which have great impact on people's practical relations with God in these specific times. The Babylon is just prone to become united with a State in order to impose this impact on every person.

2. The Seventh-day Adventist Church cannot, in my opinion, become part of Babylon, when it retains the end time teachings, which are rejected by Babylon. The Trademark issue, even if it is a "fornication with the kings of the earth", does not constitute Babylon by itself. Only the Trinity doctrine can have the potential to change the Remnant into Babylon. The question may remain: does the Trinity itself (the "MYSTERY" from Rev. 17:5) constitute being Babylon?

Ellen White wrote:

 “We are in danger of becoming a sister to fallen Babylon, of allowing our churches to become corrupted, and filled with every foul spirit, a cage for every unclean and hateful bird; and will we be clear unless we make decided movements to cure the existing evil?” [Manuscript Releases Volume Twenty-one, page 380, paragraph 1 and quoted in Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, page 188, paragraph 3]

I think this danger came into existence. We have the Trinity doctrine, we have downsized the Three Angels' Messages (still officially taught), we have trademarked our identity, we are taking people to courts, and we have become morally weak, especially the youth (like myself). These are facts. But even if the Remnant became a sister to Babylon, it is still neither Babylon, nor one of her Harlots. Remnant is still a Remnant, established by God Himself, although severely Babylonized. We have no prophecies about becoming any Beast from Revelation, unlike the Apostolic Church had, and we do not have any prophecies about the Remnant becoming the Babylon itself.

After 1844, we are responsible before God regarding our actions in His Church and regarding our preparations before the coming of Jesus Christ. We are responsible today at least in the same manner, as we have been in 1888. Maybe even to us is given the responsibility for the Remnant becoming or not becoming Babylon. That's why (and it is my prayer) we need to save everything, what is left to save, and bring back, what has been lost.

Blessings! Adrian Z.

PS. Of course, I'm open to critical responses.